The Handkerchief


In my case, it’s usually a bandana. I keep one in my back pocket at all times.Do you want to know the best reason to carry one? Most people don’t. You don’t want to be most people, do you? I didn’t think so. It’s a simple addition to your accessories to help you live life more prepared than your peers. There are so many uses for a handkerchief/bandana. A gentleman should always have a handkerchief in his pocket. But apart from chivalrous etiquette, you may find yourself in a survival situation—either in the wilderness or on the streets—that calls for the wonderfully diverse tool that is the handkerchief.

Here are the top 7 survival uses for a handkerchief:

1. Straining Water

In case you’ve never been in the great outdoors for any extended amount of time, you may not be aware that water doesn’t come bottled in the wilderness. But it does come with dirt and sometimes parasites that can make you sick or even kill you. Before boiling water from a river, creek or lake to make it safe for drinking, straining it with your handkerchief will remove the debris and larger particles that make it yucky. I was camping by a river and used a handkerchief to strain the water for boiling and drinking. It was a little less brown than it had been. Still wasn’t thrilling to drink, but the handkerchief sifted out most of the stuff that made it brown. I repeated the filtering process a couple of times and the water was clearer every time. You can strain to your heart’s content.

2. Protection from the Sun

I’ve gotten a sunburn on the back of my neck more times than I can remember and it is a prime spot for skin cancer in the future. I often find myself in the sun for long periods of time without any warning, so the handkerchief provides a great layer of protection from the sun. If you don’t have hair on your head, it’s good for that too.

3. Sweat Band

Don’t you hate when sweat is dripping down your face and burning your eyes? Well, there’s a handkerchief for that.

4. Tourniquet/Bandage

…I know. But it could happen. You could be taking a leisurely stroll and suddenly get slashed by a shuriken from an enemy ninja…or something. I hope you never need to tie a handkerchief tightly around a limb to stop blood loss from killing you or someone else, but it’s a good idea to be prepared.

5. Tying Up Stuff

Tying up stuff. I think you can imagine needing to tie things in a survival situation or something. I don’t need to expand. Number 5 just looked lonely without more words underneath.

6. Face Mask

Not for robbing banks in the old west, but for simple basic air filtration for your mouth and nose. There are some pretty dusty places you could wind up in, and having that extra layer can make your breathing a lot more comfortable.

7. Container

Remember those old cartoons where a hobo (or bunny named Bugs) would travel with a stick over their shoulder? At the end would be a red bandana full of goodies tied to it.


There are many more uses for a handkerchief, and if you start carrying one, you’ll soon wonder how you lived without it. Did I mention the handkerchief could be used as a weapon? I probably shouldn’t…


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